Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spare Me Your Manufactured Interest, Or Can Your Curiosity

Have you ever been daydreaming, and looked up from signing your best-selling book in the window of a major bookstore, or placed your hand over your heart to sing the national anthem after accepting your gold medal for Olympic equestrian jumping, only to discover that you are someplace you would rather not be? Like tenth in line at the Taco Bell drive-thru, with those concrete curbs so you cannot escape? Or at the top of the high diving board at the pool in the local park?

That happened to me on Sunday. Only I was in line with all my stuff on the conveyor at The Devil's Playground, at the checker who bags items in a wonky manner, and is a bit of a weirdo. Let the record show that I was buying candy for the Easter holiday. My boys don't do eggs any more, but they DO eat candy.

Let the record show that I must get equal treats for those boys. So I had two of everything. And I had a stack (SMALL STACK) of bunny PEEPS, because I like them, even if the boys don't, and they will be disappearing from the shelves after this weekend, to be gone for an entire year! Sure, maybe there might be one of those obscene giant single bunny white PEEPS left on the clearance aisle Monday. Or those odd mystery flavored PEEPS that I am not about to bite the head off of. So pardon me if I felt the need to throw four packs of bunny PEEPS into my cart, and then onto the conveyor with my boys' Easter basket treats. Those four packs will last me until May. Yeah. Sure they will.

So what does this Devil's Handmaiden do but start jawing at me about my purchases!

"Oh! Easter candy is really expensive!" Like she hasn't noticed that for the past four weeks, with all of Hillmomba buying candy and eating it and coming back for more before it runs out.

"Uh. Yeah."

"Wow! How many are you buying for?"

"A bunch." No way was I going to tell her it was only for two. I guess other people don't love their children as much as I do.

"I would just put it all in a bucket and say, 'Come pick out what you want.' I wouldn't try to hand it out."

"Uh. Yeah."

Give me a freakin' break! Is it your business what I buy? I don't think there's a quota on candy. No rationing that I've heard about. Should I just say, 'I'm buying it for myself. Nobody else. I LOVE CANDY!' Because maybe that's what the weirdo was getting at. Seriously. Does she harass every customer about their items? Does she say, "Oh, incontinence pads. Do you pee yourself?" Or maybe, "Air freshener? I bet your poop really stinks!" Or perhaps, "A sympathy card, huh? Did somebody die?"

I do not need The Devil's Handmaidens to be fake friendly to me. Now I must get back to signing my best-seller, and waving to the crowd as my gold medal glints in the photographer's flash.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Laissez-Science-Faire Policy

The Pony just re-entered the Mansion after draining 16 two-liter bottles of soda. No. He doesn't have a powerful thirst. He's preparing the equipment for his science project that he will be taking to the local junior college Science Fair in 11 days. That's my Pony. No need to rush into things. Wait until the last minute. It will all work out.

We have had all the necessary tools for at least three weeks now. He needs the bottles to fill with different types of soil, a funnel to get the soil in the bottles and water into the soil, aquarium tubing to insert at four different levels, a graduated beaker or cylinder to measure the water output per minute after pouring it into the soil sample, and modeling clay to seal the tubing to the bottles. He is testing D A R C Y ' S  LAW with Missouri soils. I spaced that out so nobody can pop in here unwantedly and read about The Pony's experiment. My BFF Google ain't gonna play us for no fools!

So anyway, Farmer H, of all times, could not buy soda at the auction, but instead drove around to three separate Dollar General stores to pick them up. The only problem was the contents. Now the bottles have been emptied and rinsed, and await the soil this weekend, and subsequent testing. The Pony is a wizard at whipping up charts and graphs for his data. He took pictures of the area where he got the different types of soil. The #1 son hooked up my new used laser color printer last week, so pictures can be printed easily. Crunch time will come as The Pony has to apply the details to his display board. I figure he's got Sunday/Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday nights for that. Thursday is pushing it too close to Friday's fair.

As for the disposal of the soda, 13 bottles of Orange, and 3 bottles of Root Beer (apparently, Farmer H is not well-versed in the "constant" component of experimental design), The Pony came to my dark basement lair to say that the deed was done.

"I poured out 16 bottles of soda. Actually, I poured out 15-and-a-half bottles of soda, and drank half a bottle of Root Beer. When I burped, foam came out of my mouth."

Yeah. Let's hope he doesn't feel the need to share that detail when he writes up his procedure.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

From The Logic Files Of Farmer H

I have a stack of magazines on the living room coffee table. Right where some people would keep their coffee table book about coffee tables. I don't keep the magazines there for reading material. They have already been read. I put them there about a month ago, and told Farmer H to burn them. No use clogging up our trash dumpster that the waste management people see fit to dump one or two weeks a month as they feel like it, the snow or rain in the forecast leading them to cancel at the drop of a pleated clear plastic rain hat in a little flat pouch.

Farmer H walks past those magazines several times a day. Yet they remain. So when he instructed The Pony to harvest the cardboard from around the Mansion so he could burn it, I again pointed out my magazines. "I can't burn them, Val. They won't burn."

Indeed. So sayeth the arsonist who burns a dead goat on a funeral pyre of sorts, and is partial to a phrase about rich people that goes: He has enough money to burn a wet mule. Yet magazines, made of paper, will not burn on his burn pile. Go figure. Maybe we should coat infant and toddler jammies with magazine pages, so very flame resistant are they. And when a fire breaks out in a restaurant kitchen, the grillmaster can shout, "Quick! Toss me a magazine so I can smother the flames!" Perhaps doctors' offices could donate their magazines so that helicopters can drop them on forest fires.

Yeah. That's how ridiculous Farmer H is about doing something he doesn't want to do. Of course the magazines won't burn if you drop the stack onto the fire. You have to set them up on end, or lean them over, with their pages ruffled.

Paperly-challenged nincompoop!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

What Are We Going To Do About Juno?

Somebody needs to jerk a knot in my sweet, sweet Juno's tail. She's getting a little too big for her britches. I, of course, bear no responsibility for her actions.

Lately, when I come to the side porch to pet her after school, my sweet, sweet Juno is...how you say...rambunctious. Okay. Not so much rambunctious as jealously hyperactive. She will not stand still and let me pet Ann, the poor dimwitted black german shepherd. My sweet, sweet Juno seems to think it's all about her!

Oh, I try to trick her by trapping her muzzle next to my neck, laying my arm over her shoulders, and secretly patting Ann on the head. But my sweet, sweet Juno is too smart for that. She yanks her head back and sidles against Ann, shoving her out of reach, all the while whining with excitement and anticipaaaation of her handful of cat kibble. Several times, my sweet, sweet Juno has thrown her head back and clipped my chin with her snout. Sometimes she points her head at the white-spotted black roaster pan and leans the whole side of her body against me so I am incapacitated in petting either dog, and can only grab the kibble with my left hand, while clinging to my purse and bubba cup of water with my right.

The next-to-last straw was last week, when I had grabbed the handful of cat kibble intended for my sweet, sweet Juno, and was in the process of putting it down on the porch boards at the feet of that second suit-of-armor metal guy that Farmer H got at the auction for The Pony. Just as I was beginning to open my fingers to drop the kibble, my sweet, sweet Juno bobbed her greedy head down to partake of that delicacy. Her mouth knocked my hand onto the porch, where, for some Not-Heavenish reason, we have a strip of asphalt roofing shingle laying cattywompus on the boards.

My middle finger first knuckle was scraped raw by my sweet, sweet Juno's antics.

I might have to cut her snack rations.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Suiting Him Right Down To The Ground

We went to get The Pony's tuxedo for prom today.

As you might guess, The Pony doesn't really care what kind of tuxedo he gets. Doesn't even care if he has shoes to wear, since he will be walking on air beside his paramour, and maybe even holding her hand! I don't know that. I suspect he would dearly love to. But I'm not sure he would make such an advance, because if there's any human on the face of the earth whose feelings matter to The Pony, it's the feelings of his little gal.

I had been looking for tux rentals on the innernets. The only one I could remember was over in bill-paying town, from when both boys were in their brother's wedding. I saw one very close to Newmentia, with the unfortunate distinction of having "flower girl" in the name of the establishment. You know what that means. The Pony had no desire to go there and ask about tuxes, even though it showed the line they carry on their website. "Mom. I've never heard of anybody getting a tux there. I thought they only did flowers."

So today on our way to the third of our seven listed stops, but the fifth of our actual nine stops, we passed the flower girl. "Oh Mom. Did you see that? They had a sign in their window that said "Tux Rentals."

"No. I did not see that. We're already past it. Going to where you want to rent your tux." In all actuality, I had consulted my BFF Google, and then asked the #1 son about where he had gotten his two prom tuxes, and made my decision. It's right next door to my eye doctor that gave me the worst glasses I ever paid for. Which is not, I hope, an omen.

The place looked deserted. "I think it's upstairs for the tux rental. You drive around to the side." That Pony sure knows a lot for being ignorant of the ways of prom. That side of the establishment was also deserted. The Pony jumped out and galloped to the door to read the sign. "It says they opened at 10:00." Since it was already after 11:30, we went in. #1 said the people there were super nice. He was right.

The counter girl showed us a slanted countertop area much like the ones where you sit down to look at dress patterns in The Devil's Playground. Not that I sew a lot of dresses. Or even know if they still have that counter. But as a child, I spent many a minute sitting on those stools browsing through McCalls pattern books while waiting on Mom to make a decision.

"Oh, we already know what we want. I named off the collection, the tux style, the vest/tie color, and The Pony looked where she gestured at shirts, and picked the plain one (that costs $15.00 more) and the shiny shoes. All that was left was the measurin', the payin', and the cryin'.

And as an added bonus, they had a bathroom in the vestibule between the outer and inner doors.

I highly recommend this place. Unlike the optometrist next door.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Justice Is Meted Out To The Little Slacker

The honor of the slacks has been besmirched! An embarrassing stain appeared Tuesday evening on the upper right thigh, in a dribble that could be misconstrued by those wanting to cast aspersions upon the toileting accuracy of one Pony Hillbilly of Hillmomba, USA.

The khaki slacks! Jake from State Farm would have a tremor in his voice if he knew he was wearing stained slacks. I felt bad for The Pony. He did, after all, stop by the dispensing station of the faculty feeding frenzy on conference night to pick up our meals and deliver mine to me. Therein lies the problem.

We always order out on the night we have to stay until 7:00. We’ve tried different vendors over the years, from Chinese to Mexican to Subway to a local bar and grill. This year, we changed Chinese restaurants in favor of a new one, rumored to be less oily, where one of our students works. It goes a little like this.

All morning people are wondering if we’re going to order out. Not wondering enough to take the initiative and send around an order sheet. But wondering just the same. At lunch, one of the shifts decides where the food is coming from. They discuss their order. Sign up and pay. Then through the afternoon, the teachers from the other lunch shifts grouse about being left out. Soon enough, whether by design or out of shame, a student is sent up and down the long hallway of Newmentia to show a menu and take orders from other faculty. It is considered polite to give extra money for tax, and not be a miser about getting your exact change back. A tip for the driver who goes to pick it up, even though the chance to leave the grounds and puff a smoke are usually incentive enough that the delivery job does not go begging.

Since The Pony had to stay all that time with me, I ordered a dinner for him as well. I’m sure many a comment was made about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom ordering TWO dinners. Teachers can be so cruel.

So…the food arrived. Before I even knew it was there by the announcement over the intercom, The Pony was carrying my food into my classroom. “Oh. I heard the teachers talking about it down on my hall when the food got here. So I left the ATV room (that’s what I call it, but it really has a different name) to get my meal. Somebody there asked if I was bringing yours to you, so I said, ‘Sure. Why not?’ And here it is.” Yep. That Pony sure has no interest in helping people.

“I’m sorry about this mess on your desk. It was leaking when I picked it up. In fact, it got all over me.” He grabbed a Puffs and started wiping it on his slacks.

“NO! That will leave tissue crumbs all over your slacks. Get some Germ-X and dab it with your finger. I’ll scrub your slacks before I wash them. Until then, you’re just going to have to walk around with a stain on them.”

“Eh. I’m just going back to the ATV (not his words) room. I’ll be okay.”

Poor Pony. We know how he loves his slacks. But he loves sweet-and-sour chicken and internet access more.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yet Another Sideline For My Proposed Handbasket Factory

You get a line and I'll get a pole, honey

You get a line and I'll get a pole, babe

You get a line and I'll get a pole (and a bucket full of worms that I found on the Newmentia parking lot this morning after a rain)

And we'll go down to the fishin' hole

Honey, baby mine.

Every time it rains, the blacktop parking lot of Newmentia is covered with worms. Not big fat earthworms as thick as Farmer H's pinky finger. Not writhing red wigglers like my dad used to pick up after turning over a piece of tin in the back yard. Kind of in-between. Three to four inches long, about the thickness of three strands of spaghetti, with pinkish ends. All over the place. I could pick them up and stash them in a plastic garbage can with dirt and crushed leaves and newspaper and garbage, and start my own worm farm.

That way, I could sell live bait off the counter of my proposed handbasket factory.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

He's A Real SHOW Pony

I am pleased to brag report that Newmentia's Scholar Bowl team placed fourth in the conference tournament on Saturday. Let the record show that there are more than four schools in the conference. Eleven, to be exact. Many of them are bigger than Newmentia. Like the ones who took places first, second, third. But that's okay. We are competitive.

The Pony won a medal for third place in individual scoring. The kid who got second is a National Merit Scholar finalist, and a senior at the school that finished third. Not too shabby. I read about him in the paper. I don't know the pedigree of the kid who got first.

After the tournament, The Pony was off to the bill-paying town with his cronies to play some D & D at a game shop. Let the record show that he was NOT driving. Farmer H had been to the tournament to watch him, and was staying to bring him home. Then he was left holding the back passenger seat when The Pony ditched him to ride with his friends. He gave permission, though.

I went to pick up The Pony after gaming. He was at a drive-in restaurant by the park where we always picked up my mom for our bill-paying trips. When he came out, that giant medal on its red/white/blue ribbon was thumping against his chest, and he was smiling from ear to ear.

"Oh, Mom. I won third place individual. The medal is really cool, but they didn't put the place on it. Just the tournament. Look at the back! It's like a rainbow."

My little Pony. I think he's ready to leave the paddock.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mayhap A Sign...Mayhap Just Faulty Wiring

This morning on the way to school I told The Pony about an article I read in the paper. Just because, you know, I'm sure he has nothing better to do than be my captive audience while he sits in the passenger seat behind me, where I can barely see a corner of his face in the rearview mirror. As opposed to the frontview mirror, I suppose. I don't know who came up with that name. Probably the same folks who made "new baby" happen. And not Gretchen Wieners.

"Hey! I read that the funeral home caught on fire. There was supposed to be a funeral later than afternoon, but they had to move it to a church. The electrical panel burst into flames, and the worker dumped powder on it. I don't know if that's a good idea, because I know powder can start a flash fire. But that's what the paper said. I don't know what kind of powder they'd have in a funeral home."

"Oh, they do make a powder to put out fires. Because, like with a grease fire, you can't use water or it will spread."

"I guess they had some at the funeral home. The fire department called the electric company to come shut it off at the transformer, and another fire department from the next town covered the firehouse while they were watching the funeral home. Now nobody can have a funeral there until it gets inspected and declared safe again."

"You mean safe enough so a dead body won't get hurt?"

"I don't think that's what it means. That people can't have a funeral there. Wouldn't that be terrible, to have your family member there, getting ready for the funeral, and then it catches on fire?"

"That's what you'd call a bad omen."

"Yeah. Hopefully not a foreshadowing of where they're going."


We are not socially acceptable sometimes, The Pony and I.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Holding Pattern

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has a long short week ahead. Time for conferences, and time to start the fourth quarter. Uh huh. It will be Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's next to last fourth quarter! I can feel your excitement. It's virtually palpable.

No school Friday, so I'll miss my duty. Also no school next Friday for our Easter break. It's only one day, you know. Because we're all about gettin' out before Memorial Day, what with our dozen snow days. I imagine that two years from now, when I'm on my FOREVER VACATION, I might still obsessively watch the news to see if Newmentia has been canceled. Or maybe not.

Anyhoo...since I'll be busy doing pretty much nothing, unless somebody desires a conference with me, which happens so seldom on the high school level...I might be late with my daily observations. Or maybe not. If I can work ahead, I can schedule posts to automatically pop up like I'm really here. Kind of like fooling burglars with a lamp on a timer and a radio on top of the fridge. Does anybody have radios anymore? Besides those old farmers who get up with the cows and go to bed with the chickens, and sit at their chrome and Formica kitchen tables in their bib overalls with no shirt, sopping up the runny yolk of fried eggs with fluffy biscuits, a chipped plate stacked high with fresh sausage patties and thick slabs of bacon at their elbow.

The Pony took his truck for a drive this afternoon. I have yet to hear the details.

More as the situation develops.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

It Wasn't A Guest, And It Had Not Yet Been Three Days

I can't wait to make my report to the Semi-Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank!

This morning I had to do the Devil's Playground shopping all alone, because The Pony was competing in the conference Scholar Bowl tournament. I went from one corner of that Not-Heavenish place to the opposite, all the while competing with little old ladies for aisle space. What's with the little old ladies today? It's not time for their monthly check!

One of them put her head down like Al Bundy in his football heyday as All-City fullback for Polk High, and barreled right at me with her cart, like Al's Shopping Cart of Death, when he competed against Marcy D'Arcy for the Millionth Customer prize. I swear, she nearly clipped me on the bread aisle. Another one was on a beeper cart, and took her half out of the middle. No really. I think she swerved toward me on purpose every time we met. I wanted to ask her, on the chip/cookie aisle, "Shouldn't you be over in the cat food section?" But I didn't. She looked a bit cranky.

At the checkout, a classier version of old lady was right in front of me, sitting on her beeper cart. Prettier. Well-preserved, in a June Cleaver kind of way, but without pearls. And she STOOD UP to put her groceries from the basket onto the conveyor. The last item, unfortunately, right on the other side of the divider bar I made sure to put before my order, was incontinence briefs. Sure, they could have been for her husband, or her sister. I shouldn't jump to conclusions. Hopefully, she did not think I was eating both the large box of Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies AND the sugar-free iced oatmeal cookies. Or coloring my hair with those two boxes of L'Oreal that I bought for Farmer H...

But that's not newsworthy enough to report to my cronies at the Semi-Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank. Nope. What they must hear about was the SMELL. Not old lady smell. It was a smell coming from behind me. STOP IT! Not from my behind! From the people in line behind me.


I suppose they had picked up some fried fish in the deli. It was eye-watering. It made my saliva flow, not like when you are salivating for something tasty, but like just before you are about to vomit. On second thought, I will have to see who's in attendance when I bring this up at the meeting.

We wouldn't want a certain person to get ideas and go buy her fish there.

Friday, March 20, 2015

HM's Buttocks Ain't Safe In A House Full Of Men

Sweet Gummi Mary! Who do you have to know around this Mansion to get a sit-down on the toilet without wetting your cheeks?

This evening Farmer H and The Pony were getting ready to go pre-bowl because of The Pony's Scholar Bowl tournament tomorrow. I was in the kitchen, not eating bread and honey as some of you might surmise, but reading the mail and clearing the counter. I declared a brief respite, and headed to the master bathroom to use the facilities.

ACK! Something wet greeted my derriere! That was not pleasant.

I came out of the bathroom to find Farmer H ensconced on the short couch. "Why is the toilet seat all wet?"

"I didn't know the toilet seat WAS wet."

"So you don't know anything about it?"

"No. I don't know anything about the toilet seat being wet. I wiped it off. Just in case. Because I went to the bathroom, but I didn't get anything on the seat."

"Yeah. You AND The Pony don't know anything about toilet seats being wet. Funny how that same thing happened to me downstairs last night."

"Well, that Pony gets it all over the place!"

"I do not! I always wipe off the seat, too!"


So many men...such short--

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Really Needs To Invest In A Monocle

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has not been having a good week. There were entry forms to gather and put in the mail, projects to present, finals to be graded...and the universe has been conspiring against her.

Is it not enough that on Wednesday, within ten minutes of donning her soft blue sweatshirt, which she had just taken from the dryer after washing it to remove a salsa stain, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom incurred another salsa stain? Maybe she needs to eat less salsa.

Today at school, during her next-to-last class, Mrs. HM was happily reading out loud for the group who is averse to bonus points for reading out loud...when she went momentarily blind, and heard a CLUNK! Yes, my online acquaintances, that was the sound of the left lens dropping out of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's bifocals. Perhaps she has mentioned in passing that these are the worst glasses she ever purchased, with the near exception of those attached to a Groucho Marx nose and mustache.

After scrambling to grab it off the floor, Mrs. HM wedged it back inside the loose frame, and tilted her head just so, and continued. The show must go on. After several more falling-outs, Mrs. HM requested the services of the nearest student who looked like he possessed a steady hand and a modicum of mechanical ability. "Do you think you could put this back in? Here are the parts, and a screwdriver." Yes, indeed. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom keeps an eyeglasses repair kit in her top desk drawer. There are none so blind as those trapped in a classroom for fifty minutes with twenty adolescents.

Then, on the way home, after tussling with the Pizza Hut order taker over false website promotions, after passing through the second roundabout...was the crowning glory, the plastic-frizzled toothpick thingy holding the crap sandwich together, the icing on the urinal cake of Mrs. HM's day...a flapping black entity hurtling towards T-Hoe.

It was creepy, I tell you. Like something that would come flapping up out of a well where Nicole Kidman as Ada Monroe would lean her head in backwards to look for a sign of Inman. But instead of some bad-omen crows, it was a human. Dressed all in black. Billowing sleeves. Black hood. Face covered by a pinky-purple winter face mask. ON ROLLERBLADES! Yes! Coming up the center line just past the bowling alley.

Let the record show that this entity did not come from, nor go toward, the bowling alley. It came from the direction of the church with the sign out front proclaiming for the past two weeks accusatorily: "Jesus died for a reason...and you're it." Yep. Coming from nowhere, headed toward nowhere, down the center line where the gravel of ten snow days has accumulated.

I wonder what's in store for me tomorrow?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Hound Of Hillmombaville Strikes Again

You're not gonna believe what that dastardly neighbor poodle did THIS time!

Only yesterday, we drove up the gravel road minding our own business. There was a white car ahead of us. Not feeding us, making us eat the dust. Too moist for that right now. But we kept a reasonable distance. That white car went past the neighbor driveway. Then ours. Poodle stood at the end of her own driveway. Turned her head and watched that white car. Then, as we approached, Poodle ran at T-Hoe and JUMPED AT THE DRIVER'S DOOR!


What kind of dog does that? A devil dog, that's what kind of dog does that. Poodle twisted way as we passed. I don't know what she had planned. To jump through my window? Crash into the side of the car? It was freaky and a bit disturbing. I swear. That poodle made no effort to go after the car in front of us, then zeroed in on T-Hoe and dive-bombed us.

Today, The Pony and I were prepared. We had stopped by the mailbox, and had to wait on a white truck to get its mail and get way from EmBee. Then we caught up to it. Just like that white car. I told The Pony I did not want that poodle jumping at me again. But alas, I had forgotten to buy my SuperSoaker. I picked up an old water bottle, one-third full.

"I am going to be ready, Pony. If Poodle jumps at me today, I am dashing it with this water."

"Why don't you just throw the bottle at it?"

"Because then it would have the bottle to carry around and chew on, and it would have my scent!"

"Oh. I'll pour this leftover Sprite on it."

"Here. Take the lid off my water so it's ready. Wait until it rushes. I'm putting my window down. I hope it doesn't jump in."

"Here. It's ready."

"We'll see if it chases that white truck."

We were almost there. The white truck in front of us slowed. Wove around the potholes on the road in front of the BARn field. AND TURNED INTO THE POODLE'S DRIVEWAY! It was our neighbor, the owner of Poodle.

Foiled again!

"Darn it! We were ready, too! Loaded for bear!"

"Uh huh. Armed to the teeth."

Of course Poodle was nowhere to be seen. Acting the angel for her owner.

We'll get her one of these days.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is About To Release Her Inner Nancy Kerrigan

Sweet Gummi Mary! Something has gone horribly wrong with the PEEPS!

Have you tried them this year? I mean, any of you who have kids, and have done some early Easter Bunny shopping, and bought a pack, and they accidentally ripped open, so you tried one of those green blue bunny PEEPS, and it didn't quite taste right, so you tried another one, and then another just to make sure, and then just one more to complete a row, but your test was inconclusive, so you ripped off another, which left part of a row, so you finished that off, and saw there was only one row left, which was hardly worth keeping, so you made it a part of your test as well.


Usually the bunny PEEPS are just right. So soft. So sweet. With just the right texture, a bit rough, a tiny crunch of sugar when chewing their marshmallowy goodness. BUT NOT NOW! It's like the PEEPS have undergone a makeover. And nobody is telling us about it. They are too thin-skinned now. The PEEPS, not the makers who are withholding information. Try one. Or more. The sugar is like a spray-on tan. Thin. No crystals.Whereas the PEEP used to feel grainy and coarse, like manly man's skin after playing a rousing game of beach volleyball...it now feels soft as a baby's bottom. I DON'T WANT TO CHOMP INTO A BABY'S BOTTOM!

Yes, indeed. Something has gone amiss with this year's bunny PEEPS. I wouldn't be surprised if somebody is counting our calories for us. Or saving money on the cost of sugar or shipping. If only a PEEPS aficionado had a PEEP or two left over from last year's stash, under the sink, maybe, letting them harden like I've heard some folks enjoy them, and could compare this year's batch to last year's.

Something is rotten in the state of JustBorn.

Which doesn't mean that I will stop eating PEEPS.

Monday, March 16, 2015

And Now, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Off To Recline

Whew! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is tired this evening, my friends. Tired. Like a hipster doofus who falls asleep in a hot tub, which shorts out the electricity to the building, forcing Jean Paul the marathon runner to oversleep.

We pulled into the garage this afternoon, and The Pony gathered up our various educational accouterments to haul into the house. I reached up to close the garage door as The Pony climbed out of the back seat behind me.

"What did you do that for?"


"Why did you open the back? I have all the stuff. We don't have groceries."

"Um. Because I thought I was hitting the garage door closer."

The Pony snorted. "That's a logical mistake, I guess. Heh, heh, heh."

"We shall never speak of this again."

Still. It's not as bad as that time I stepped into the shower with my socks still on. Or when I put the frozen pizza in the oven on that round cardboard thingy. Sleep deprivation is not a good look on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

No Rest For The Weary, No Honor Among Thieves, And No Reverence For Death In Farmer H

Another shocking revelation from the land of Hillmomba. If your are the tenderhearted sort, please click on that X to close this window now. The following account is not for the faint of heart, nor for animal lovers, nor those who might wish to have their pet buried beside them when they pass on. It might, however, be acceptable reading for those who would have their pet buried WITH them, since it would mean an unfortunate euthanization, or a Cask of Amontillado kind of forced expiration.

Last chance to bail! Here goes:

This morning Farmer H sat down on the short couch soon after I got up. This usually means he wants to chastise me for some imaginary transgression, ask for money for a project, or break some bad news. It was bad news.

"Genius is dead."

Let the record show that Genius is the orange-striped cat that the #1 son picked out of two litters of kittens way back when he was in 3rd grade. We went to the home of a fellow teacher, who had two mama cats and their new babies put up in a playhouse where dogs couldn't get them. We climbed the steps to that playhouse, and stood beside two cardboard boxes of kittens. #1 picked them all up and looked them over. "It's so hard to decide," he said.

The Pony grabbed one immediately. He was only six, but he knew the kitten he wanted. "That white one."

"Honey, there are a bunch of white ones. Does it matter? Some have spots. Some have long hair. Some have short hair."

"That one. I know that's the one I want. It has one gray toe." And thus Snuggles was chosen. We would not be able to pick them up yet. When they were old enough, my crony would bring them to school.

The #1 son stood looking over the two boxes. As he did so, an orange-striped kitten climbed out of the box and sat on his foot, looking up at him. Crony scooped him up and put him back in the box. #1 leaned over the other box. That orange-striped kitten tumbled over the side of the box again. He started climbing up #1's pants leg.

"I'll take this kitten. He's the smartest one. He keeps coming to me because he knows I will take him home. I'm going to name him Genius."

Yes, Genius was smart. One autumn he disappeared for 30 days. Then all at once he turned up again. We never did find out where he went. Farmer H thought he might have been sleeping on the silver toolbox in the back of his truck, and taken an unplanned ride to town, and jumped out at the feed store. I thought he was catnapped, because he disappeared on Labor Day weekend, with a lot of unfamiliar vehicles up in here. Then one afternoon when we got home from school, there was Genius, laying on the porch. He wasn't bedraggled or thin. I can only assume that somebody took him, kept him inside, and then he escaped. Because before he left, he never tried to get in the house by standing on his back legs and grabbing the doorknob with his front paws.

Anyhoo...Genius was 11 years old. He had appeared to be in perfect health up until now. He still jumped up on T-Hoe to sit on the hood and look in the windshield when we got ready to leave, necessitating The Pony get out and remove him before we started up the driveway. He still jumped down from the open garage door when we got home, landing on T-Hoe's roof with a loud thump, to slide down the windshield and sit on the edge waiting for his ears to be scratched.

Farmer H saw him yesterday when he came in the house to wait for auction time. He was laying on the back porch, his head under the rail, overlooking the fake fish pond. He used to sleep there all the time. When Farmer H left for the auction, he saw Genius still in the same place. He went closer, and saw that Genius had expired.

"Oh, that's so sad. What did you do with him?"

"I buried him."


"In a hole."

"No you didn't. It's too muddy. You didn't bury him. What did you do, throw him in the sinkhole?"

"No. I buried him in a hole."

"You're lying. Where is he?"

"I got rid of him."

"NO! What did you do with him?"

"I told you, I put him in a hole. On the way to the auction, there's a place with a lot of holes."

"You put him on someone else's property?"

"No. I put him in a hole. Along Highway 47 on the way to the auction, there's a place with several holes. It's state right-of-way property. I put him in there."

"That's not right! You probably just threw him out the window as you drove by!"

"No I didn't. I put him in a hole."

"What am I suppose to tell #1 when he asks where his cat is?"

"He doens't have to know. Just tell him he died, and I buried him."

"I'm going to tell him to ask you."

What is WRONG with that man? To dispose of a loving pet in that manner? I'm not saying we need a funeral with a headstone. Only that in the past, we have buried our departed pets in the side yard. Cubby is there, and Grizzly, and the little kitten that never grew up. Even the goat, dog-massacred chickens, and two turkeys got a cremation. I am really not happy with this turn of events.

Genius deserved better. He was our best cat.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I'm Not Quite Sure, Put There Is An Off-Chance That This Means War In Hillmomba

Hillmomba people problems!

The neighbor dog is at it again. The chicken-killing, Juno-chasing, aggressive-charging, long-tailed, champaigne-or-white (depending on level of cleanliness) standard poodle who lives to make our lives miserable.

When I came home from town around noon, there it rocketed, from out of its driveway and toward T-Hoe, meeting me down the road a bit, where I was easing over the reverse-Braille landscape of the gravel road in front of our BARn section of land. Don't think this beast is a mere car-chaser. I've had a car-chasing dog, and he came to no good end at the wheels of my mother. A car-chasing dog chases for sport. Chases behind the car in an effort to catch, or runs alongside the car in an attempt to bite the tires. This poodle runs AT the car. Right at the driver's door, barking aggressively, not in greeting, not in excitement, not in who-goes-there, but in a snarling kind of way without the curled lip.

I do not like it, Sam-I-Am
Not at all, no sir, no ma'am
I do not like this vicious beast
I do not like it in the least

I'm quite afraid it may go nuts
Tear my flesh there in the ruts
A Cujo-esque fear enters me
Each time that animal I see

Again, as I pulled into our driveway, Poodle crossed the road onto our front yard/field, barking a command of, "Yeah! That's what I'm talkin' about! And don't you come out here again!" I'm sure that's what she was saying in dogese. My loyal protector, my sweet, sweet Juno, sprang off the front porch like a field-trial champion Labrador off a dock to retrieve a duck. I'm certain she has Lab blood coursing through her Border Collie veins, my little Borador. However...she's no match for a blood-thirsty standard poodle, those guard dogs of yore, marching across property lines and pillaging Hillmomba like the Huns, Vandals, Visigoths, and Vikings all rolled into one. With four legs and sharp teeth.

Poor Juno. She was alone in her defense. Ann stood on the porch and barked in syncopation to Juno's yapping. Juno ran at Poodle, then turned tail and scampered back to the porch, then ran at Poodle, then scampered back to the porch...many times. She even kept it up as I reached into the roasting pan of cat kibble, then came to the porch for her snack when that fat black tailless companion joined Poodle. At least Juno sparked them to move on up the road and invade other Hillmomban's property. I heard the volley of new barks to the north.

Farmer H was in the garage, puttering around his $1000 Caravan. The Pony had come out to carry in my groceries from Save A Lot. And get the Hardee's cheeseburger I brought him.

"I am sick of that dog. I don't like it coming at me. I'm getting a SuperSoaker tomorrow when we go to The Devil's Playground. I'm trying to think of what I can put in it that will be unpleasant and cheap."

"Twenty-two birdshot will make it think!"

"That won't fit in a SuperSoaker."

"I'm ready to fling open my door and hit it right in the nose."

"I'm not trying to hurt it. Just make it think twice. Something like orange juice sprayed in its face. Acidic. But cheap."

"Vinegar! Vinegar will do it! It's acidic." The Pony has a chemical mind.

"There's an idea. Maybe I'll try that."

Yeah. With warm weather coming, that dog is going to be on the prowl, and we're going to be outside more. I hate to be bested in a battle of wills with a poodle. But they ARE smart. I used to have a toy poodle, with the proper docked tail, black, a house-dog. He was as smart as my sweet, sweet Juno. Though not as emotionally connected to me. Yes, the enemy is intelligent.

Poodles are the salutatorians of the dog world.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Like A Throbbing, Exposed Dendrite

Everything has been getting on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's last nerve today. She has not the wherewithal nor the inclination to elaborate, so a list shall have to suffice:

Why do you prop open the door with the doorstop, not fully open, but in the crack so it won't close, when it is not even locked today, due to the revolving for office requests, nurse, counselor, bathroom, drinking fountain, library, computer lab, art room, last class...I swear I never knew there were so many placed to go, so many things to see.

Fish shapes in the cafeteria are no longer those cute breaded-bread nuggets in the form of anchors and minnows, but rather long fat sticks of fried seafood, allegedly. So there is no need to stick a fork in them and bite off the ends, because they are finger food, ya big priss, and not for using utensils so that they fall off onto your tray as you try to take a bite.

Stop that coughing at the lunch table! It's bad enough that you are filling in, but when you sound like the expulsion of a lung is imminent, and your eyes are red and closey, I don't want your phlegm flying at me as you hack. And you on the other side of me, how dare you turn your face TOWARDS ME while hacking, even when nobody is sitting to your right!

I can really do without two calls every class period asking for a pupil  to come to the office. The principal is not even here. What could be so pressing?

Just because you bring your stuff into my room before the bell does not mean I want to chat. I run a tight ship, you see. A time for every task, and every task at its time. So drop off that project stuff and hit the hall, Jack. I'll see you soon enough.

Would it be possible to get at least ONE day per week to drive to school without pitch dark and mist, rain, fog, tailgaters, deer, or rabbits?

How hard is it, exactly, to put markers with markers, colored pencils with colored pencils, scissors with scissors, tape with tape, and recap the glue sticks? Oh, and not leave a marker up front on the assignment turn-in desk by the pencil sharpener, when you got it on the back wall beside the TV?

AND...to the big dummy who parked a black Escalade sideways at the gas station chicken store, in a spot that was clearly NOT a parking space, thus making Mrs. Hillbilly Mom walk around you in the driving rain, and blocking in a car at the gas pumps under the roof...YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Oh The Paper Has Cutting Teeth Dear, And He Shows Them With A Bite

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom suffered and on-the-job injury yesterday. She has not yet filed for worker’s compensation. As of right now, no work days have been lost for her recent disabledness. Here’s how it all went down.

My classes are working on projects. They have known since the beginning of the year that it was due this quarter, and did preliminary work in class in January. Now the crunch is on. Out of the goodness of her heart and the depths of her coin purse, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom purchases colored paper for the pupils to use on their display boards. Also, glue, scissors, tape, colored pencils, and markers. Sometimes there is carryover from year to year, as with the scissors and colored pencils. But there is always a considerable outlay for the paper, which is around six dollars for 100 sheets. Considering that each project needs about six pieces for the main headings, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom invests a pretty penny or pocketful on these materials.

Let the record show that in different years, the clientele exhibit different levels of buffoonery. You might not think a pair of scissors would have the handle broken off through the normal use of cutting a piece of paper. But it happened. And somehow those markers are allergic to their own caps, what with some being left bareheaded, and others having a contrasting color cap ensconced upon their pointy noggins. Glue sticks are capped and returned to the bin, even when all glue is gone. Same with the tape dispensers. For some reason, we collect those clear plastic rollers. But the most wastage seems to involve that pretty paper.

Yesterday, for example, brought me an orange origami flying bird, a bright blue foldy thingy that opens up to different surfaces to tell what kind of car you will drive, how many kids you will have, how much money you will make, what kind of house you’ll live in…and various other details of your future. Funny how paper can be so prophetic. But the most outrageous waste of expensive Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s pocket money paper was the neon yellow sheet that was used for pencil scribbles by one who did not even have a display board, partner, or project parts in the room, and was then crumpled up and tossed at the wastebasket against the rules, missing, of course and attracting the desired attention from cronies, who catcalled and ridiculed the waster.

But that’s not the injury, my friends. No apoplectic forehead vein burst to render Mrs. HM disabled. No, it was all about the paper, and its thirst for blood. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom’s blood. As I tried to open that plastic wrap, which held that 1/5 ream tighter than Spanx on Oprah, tried to unpeel the clear plastic skin like a chemical facial on a society matron, my left ring finger was sliced by the edge of 1/100 of that package.

Thank the Gummi Mary, the part of that finger which would hold my wedding ring if I wore it was not damaged. It was the tender semi-circle of cuticle just below the nail, a vertical slice that smarted like the dickens.

Of course I was in the middle of ten tasks at the time, including but not limited to taking attendance, filling out an assignment sheet from an office worker, fishing out a Sharpie and a permanent marker for two pupils, gathering a week-and-a-half’s worth of work per special request by Mr. Principal, who had entered my sanctum, and trying to maintain a semblance of order. So I could not tend to my wound forthwith, but set aside the paper pack, got rid of the intrusions as efficiently as possible, and proffered the Sharpie to the asker.

“Uh…I don’t know…”

“What? That? It’s not even dripping. I’m about to put on a BandAid. Here. It didn’t touch the Sharpie.”

Seriously. You’d think I needed to call in the HazMat team to decontaminate the scene. The bubble of blood was bobbling, but not gushing as from an artery. I fumbled for a bandaid, through three boxes, because these kids eat them up like illicit snacks, it seems, to cover old injuries and imaginary ones at the drop of a hat. The only one I had left, out of three boxes, being Rugrats, Angry Birds, and SpongeBob, was a scrap of something that looked like a squid in the ocean. Or an angry unidentified bird.

I wrapped up my booboo and went about business as usual, the deadly body fluid contained.

I had to put on another BandAid this morning.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

He Can’t Drive A Car, But He Can Tell Me How To Pay The Bills

Yesterday The Pony got a letter from the local junior college out of EmBee. EmBee had a case of lockjaw last week, as you remember. Farmer H, Mailbox Medicine Man, fixed her right up with his trusty pliers that he drives around with. Don’t ever confuse him with a people dentist.

“Oh, it’s from the college.”

“You can open it. It’s probably your tuition bill. They send them out really late.”

“I can open it anyway. I says to ME, not the THE PARENTS OF.”

“Go ahead. It’s the bill, isn’t it?”


“Well, since it says to YOU, you are welcome to pay it.”

“That’s okay. I’ll let you do that.”

This morning I wrote out the check and got the thing ready to mail, but I didn’t seal the envelope, because I wanted to get a copy. For next year’s tax purposes. This morning I told him, “I got your tuition check ready to send.”

“Oh. I was going to talk to you about that. Did you get that flap off the top? It said to send that with the check. And did you make sure to put my name on the check? And my ID number?”

“Yes. I have done this many times for Genius, and for you just last semester. I know how to pay a bill.”

“Okay. I just wanted to make sure you did it right.”

That Pony. So schooled in the ways of the world. Always looking out for me.